Specialized Hemisphere Bike Tires (26" x 1.95") – Bicycle Touring Pro

Specialized Hemisphere Bike Tires (26″ x 1.95″)

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My current bike tires: Specialized Hemisphere (26″ x 1.95″)

I’ve had a set of Continental Country Plus tires on my touring bicycle for the last 12 months. They were fantastic tires for my recent cycling adventures in Andorra, Denmark, France, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United States, but after more than a year of heavy use, the sidewalls started to weather and crack. Which is why I recently replaced my Continental Country Plus bike tires with a new set of Specialized Hemisphere bike tires.

Why did I choose these tires? Because there were the best bike tires I could find at the time and place of my purchase (as I explain in this old video).

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Please note that this not an official review of the Specialized Hemisphere bike tires. I am only publishing this information here now so that when people ask, “What kind of tires are you using on your touring bicycle right now?” I can give them a link where they can get more information and see some photos of the tires I’m currently using on my bicycle. Check back later for a more official review.

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One thought on “Specialized Hemisphere Bike Tires (26″ x 1.95″)

  1. Lex Jenkins says:

    I have an older set of Specialized Hemispheres in 700×38, left over from my 2008 Globe Carmel comfort hybrid. The tread was different, with separate tread blocks rather than the current chevron pattern. They corner well, handle well on mixed pavement and moderate gravel, and seem to wear well. But the relatively thin puncture shield was penetrated by goat head grass burrs and metal shards on our rural roads.

    I liked the ride and handling but after four flats in one month last autumn I switched to Michelin Protek Cross Max 700×40. The Michelins are heavy at 1,100 gr but bombproof with the 5mm puncture shield — no puncture flats in a year and more than 2,000 miles of rough pavement, chip seal and gravel trails. The one flat, a week ago, was probably due to a loose valve core leak. No more slow leaks after snugging up the valve core. The Michelins have a rigid sidewall compared with the flexible Hemisphere sidewalls. In actual riding I can’t feel any difference that isn’t attributable to tire pressure and road conditions. The Michelins feel best to me at 50-65 psi.

    The Hemispheres are now on my 1992 Univega. They’re noisier than the chevron tread all terrain Innovas originally on the Univega, and a bit harsh for my taste near the maximum pressure. I plan to try them around 75 psi.

    The main concern I had with the Hemispheres was the unusually loose fit on standard 622-20 rims, on both bikes. No tools needed and the fit is so loose the tires will fall off the rims when uninflated. To me, that’s troublesome in case I have a fast leaking flat. Last year I was caught without a pump three miles from home and couldn’t roll the bike on the flat tire — the tire rolled off the rim, taking with it the rim strip which was tangled in the derailer. A mess. Fortunately a fellow gave me a lift in his pickup.

    The other problem with the loose fit is the risk of a blowout. The Hemispheres demand extraordinary care in seating the bead while inflating the tube. I’ll inflate slowly to 20 psi, checking the bead very carefully on both sides, then add another 10-20 psi at a time. If it’s not perfectly seated the tube will pop out and burst. Happened twice in one weekend last year, at home. Once seated and inflated to 80-100 psi, everything seems secure. I’ve ridden on fairly rough pavement and chip seal and moderate gravel trails, no problems. But I’m wary of riding with much lower pressure.

    So, good and not so good points. I plan to try a set of Continental Speed Ride Urban tires, which are dirt cheap now and apparently just a rebranded version of Conti’s Cyclocross Speed Ride. Apparently that tire didn’t sell well to the cyclocross market so Conti repackaged it as a town tire for paved and gravel MUPs. At $12 apiece for the wire bead version on Amazon it’s a safe risk.

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